Hello. I am a Dunedin-based historian but tend to travel to where the work takes me. I have an MA in history from Otago University and a Diploma in Journalism from Canterbury University. I am the author of more than 30 non-fiction books on New Zealand history, biography, culture and society. I am always looking for interesting new projects, large and small, on which to work.
Out of My Mind: Living With Manic Depression, Tandem Press, Auckland, 1994 (co-written with Ben Benjamin, upon whose experiences the book is based); revised ebook edition published as Out of My Mind: Living With Bipolar, Together With a Cure For Depression Without Drugs, The Fortesque Trust, Auckland, 2011.
Arawata Bill: The Story of Legendary Gold Prospector William James O’Leary, Exisle Publishing, Auckland, 1996; second revised edition 2000; third revised edition 2012; ebook edition 2012.
Ham Shacks, Brass Pounders and Rag Chewers: A History of Amateur Radio in New Zealand, New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters/Historical Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1997.
Heart of Gold: The People and Places of Otago, Exisle Publishing, Auckland, 1998.
For Your Information: A History of Citizens Advice Bureaux in New Zealand, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 1998.
Bricklayers and Mortarboards: A History of New Zealand Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology, Dunmore Press/Historical Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs, Palmerston North, 1999.
Wellington Polytechnic 1962-1999: A History, Dunmore Press/ History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Palmerston North, 2001.
Central Institute of Technology 1960-2001: A Brief History, Central Institute of Technology, Upper Hutt, 2001.
For Practical Purposes: A History of Hutt Valley Polytechnic and its Predecessors 1904-2001, Wellington Institute of Technology, Petone, 2004.
Southern Sting: The Team That Inspired a Region, Exisle Publishing, Auckland, 2004.
Books and Boots: The Story of New Zealand Publisher, Writer and Long Distance Walker Alfred Hamish Reed, University of Otago Press, Dunedin, 2005.
Continuing Education of Quality: A History of Otago Polytechnic and its Predecessors 1870-2006, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, 2006; Continuing Education of Quality: A 50th Anniversary History of Otago Polytechnic 1966-2016 and of its Predecessors From 1870, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, 2016.
Making a Difference: A Centennial History of Presbyterian Support Otago 1906-2006, Presbyterian Support Otago, Dunedin, 2006 (co-written with Jane Thomson).
New Zealand’s Legendary Lost Ruby Mine: A Story of Skullduggery and Death, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2006; ebook edition 2011.
The Steepest Street in the World: Baldwin Street, Dunedin, New Zealand, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2006; revised edition, 2023.
A Centennial History of the Mosgiel Volunteer Fire Brigade 1906-2006, Mosgiel Volunteer Fire Brigade, Mosgiel, 2007 (co-written with Don Bates).
Vauxhall Gardens: Dunedin’s Notorious Victorian Pleasure Gardens, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2007; ebook edition 2013.
The Making of the French Pass Road in the Marlborough Sounds, No Ordinary Life/Downer EDI Works, Auckland, 2008.
As Others See Us: Historic Dunedin Through Visitors’ Eyes, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2009; ebook edition 2011.
High Street Shopping and High Country Farming: A History of Wardell and Anderson Families in Otago, Mahana Trust, Dunedin, 2009.
Without Compromise: A Brief History of the New Zealand Women’s Christian Temperance Union, New Zealand Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Auckland, 2013; revised edition 2022.
By Students For Students: A History of the Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association 1964-2014, Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association, Dunedin, 2014.
The People’s University: A Centennial History of the Canterbury Workers’ Educational Association 1915-2015, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, 2015.
More Than Just a Place of Work: A History of Dunedin’s Hillside Railway Workshops, New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society, Wellington, 2015.
Dunedin: Founding a New World City, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2017.
Pulpit Radical: The Story of New Zealand Social Campaigner Rutherford Waddell, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2018.
A Good Joke: The Life and Crimes of Notorious New Zealand Art Forger Karl Sim, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2019.
Southern Spirit: The People and Places of Southland, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2020.
Shooting Folly as it Flies: The Life and Lines of New Zealand’s First Political Cartoonist James Brown, Saddle Hill Press, Dunedin, 2022.
Wangaloa: A History of the South Otago Coastal District, Trustees of the Wangaloa Athenaeum, Wangaloa, 2022.
The Johnsons of Wangaloa: The History of a Pioneering South Otago Farming Family, Peter Johnson, Milton, 2023.
- Compiling bibliographies
- Oral history
- Photographic research
- Publication production
- Clothing and textiles
- Government administration
- Health and medical
- Material culture
- Medical and health
- Performing arts
- Urban and suburban
- Visual arts